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Bridging the Trust Gap: How college leaders can build confidence in turbulent times

Session Overview

This video was part of the July 2020 REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit

Presidents in higher education face a daunting challenge: They most communicate and develop plans that build confidence among faculty and other constituencies, while also acknowledging no plan is perfect, every scenario must adapt to the will of the virus. What’s the best way to walk that line? How can college leaders develop trust with their faculty – a commodity that was already in short supply on some campuses even before the pandemic – so that professors and instructors can focus their energies on learning new approaches to teaching? How do presidents, provosts, and other senior administrators balance out the needs of their campuses with the political pressures from their states? What policies around teaching are needed to provide the flexibility to ensure safety, while satisfying students’ and parents’ demands for a high-quality education? This 45-minute panel will explore these ideas three top leaders in higher ed.


Lori S. White

President, DePauw University

Lori S. White is the 21st President of DePauw University. Most recently, she was the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and a Professor of Practice at Washington University in St. Louis. At DePauw, she also holds the rank of professor of education. She is the first woman and the first person of color to serve as DePauw’s president.

Dr. White has spent 30 years working in higher education. Prior to her arrival at Washington University she served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and clinical professor of education at Southern Methodist University, and has also worked at the University of Southern California, Stanford, Georgetown and San Diego State Universities, and University of California, Irvine.

At Washington University, Dr. White and her colleagues oversaw a range of student life programs including: residence halls; student activities; student leadership programs; student conduct; the Center for Diversity and Inclusion; the First Year Student Center; health and wellness programs; career services; student academic support programs; international students and scholars; scholarship programs; the Danforth University Center; and Washington University athletics and recreational programs.

Dr. White is active nationally in several higher education organizations and has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation. In 2009 she was named a Pillar of the Profession by NASPA. Dr. White was chair of the NASPA Board of Directors for 2016-2017.

Dr. White’s areas of emphasis in research and teaching include the student experience in higher education and the preparation and mentorship of new, mid-level and aspiring senior student affairs professionals. She is the author of a number of articles and book chapters and has presented widely at professional meetings. Her most recent publications appear in a co-edited volume titled Transformational Encounters: Shaping Diverse College and University Leaders and another titled Keep Calm and Call the Dean of Students: A Guide to Understanding the Many Facets of the Dean of Students Role.

Born and raised in San Francisco, CA., Dr. White earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and English from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in education administration and policy analysis, with emphasis in higher education. She also participated in Harvard University’s Management and Leadership in Education Program.

An avid college sports fan, Dr. White can name the mascot of just about every Division I college (and she is working on learning all of the mascots for Division III).

Mark B. Rosenberg

President, Florida International University (FIU)

Mark B. Rosenberg is the fifth president of Florida International University (FIU). A public institution of higher education, FIU is the face of the country’s future in higher education demographics: it is a majority-minority institution that leads the country in the production of minority degrees in the sciences and engineering.

Dr. Rosenberg has served as the fifth president of FIU since August 2009. A political scientist specializing in Latin America, Dr. Rosenberg is the first FIU faculty member to ascend to the university’s presidency.

Under his leadership as president, FIU has increased enrollment to almost 58,000 students, improved graduation rates by 23% and hired over 400 new full-time faculty members. As President, Dr. Rosenberg has provided leadership to grow the institution’s budget, improve student retention and graduation rates, expand internships for enrolled students, and coordinate FIU’s emergence as a leading producer of graduates in priority national and state areas focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The university has been named as a Carnegie “Highest Research” as well as an “Engaged” institution, and has developed path-breaking partnerships with the Miami Dade County Public Schools, JP Morgan Chase, Florida Power & Light and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Research expenditures have grown by over 120% to nearly $226 million, and over 100 new student advisers and counselors have been hired for a restructured and expanded student graduation initiative.

Goldie Blumenstyk

Senior writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Goldie Blumenstyk is one of the nation’s most respected higher education journalists.

She joined The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she is a senior writer, in 1988. A nationally known expert on the business of higher education, she has won multiple awards from the Education Writers Association; reported for The Chronicle from China, Europe, Israel, and Peru; and also contributed to The New York Times and USA Today. A frequent speaker at conferences and guest on public-radio shows and C-SPAN, she is the author of the Washington Post best-selling book American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2015).

At The Chronicle she now writes “The Edge,” a weekly newsletter on the ideas, people, and trends that are changing the higher-education landscape. She is also the author of two in-depth Chronicle reports, The Adult Student and Career-Ready Education. Previously she covered City Hall for The Orlando Sentinel. She is a graduate of Colgate University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Joseph I. Castro

President, California State University at Fresno

Joseph I. Castro is the first Californian to serve as president of California State University, Fresno. He is the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, son of a single mother and the first in his family to graduate from a university. Dr. Castro is a Professor of Educational Leadership and a gifted scholar in the fields of leadership and public policy who has mentored hundreds of other scholars and practitioners, including many other university presidents and senior officers.

Fresno State is a national leader in recruiting, supporting and graduating students from diverse backgrounds. In 2019, Fresno State was ranked Number 24 in the nation by Washington Monthly and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s leading public universities for graduation-rate performance. The University was also ranked Number 35 in Money Magazine’s best public colleges and Number 11 for most transformative college, described by the magazine as a school “where students beat the odds by doing better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds.”

Prior to his appointment as President in 2013, he served for 23 years in the University of California system. He was Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. UCSF is widely recognized as the leading health-sciences university in the nation. Dr. Castro led UCSF’s programs that served the academic and health-care needs of its talented and diverse students. Earlier in his career, he held faculty and/or administrative leadership positions at four other University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara.

Dr. Castro received a B.A. in political science and an M.P.P. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in higher-education policy and leadership from Stanford University. He has also successfully completed three advanced seminars on presidential leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Castro serves on a number of boards, including the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Mountain West Athletic Conference Board, Stanford University Graduate School of Education Advisory Council, James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Selection Committee, College Football Playoff Board, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ Governing Board, and Jumpstart National Board.

Dr. Castro’s leadership has been recognized by many different organizations. In 2019, on behalf of Fresno State, he received a fifth Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities since the awards program began in 2013. In 2018, he was named as CSU President of the Year by the California State Student Association and City of Fresno District 4 Man of the Year. In 2017, he received the Mayor of Fresno’s Community Partnership Award. In 2016, he received the Alumni Excellence in Education Award from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the Ohtli Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Government of Mexico to leaders in the United States. In 2014, he was selected as Alumnus of the Year by the UC Berkeley Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. Dr. Castro received the University of California Student Association’s Administrator of the Year Award and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from UCSF in 2010.

Dr. Castro was born and raised in Hanford, CA. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.